Valley Home Transitions Downsizing.jpg

Confession: I sometimes have difficulty letting go of items in my own home. I may spout a good line about downsizing, rightsizing, and estate organizing, yet some days I can be brought to a standstill when I sort my own things. There is nothing I love more than unearthing a happy memory of my past. I am sentimental and sometimes nostalgic, and I can hold on to items well past their shelf-life. For this reason, I have an Ambivalence box.

Last week’s posting, WHERE TO BEGIN DOWNSIZING: BOXES FOR MANY DIRECTIONS, suggested the use of an Ambivalence box to help your sorting. Ambivalence is the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something.

I have an Ambivalence box on each level of my home and in the garage. Objects whose future is undecided can be found in these boxes. I do set a Day of Reckoning in six months to decide the future of their contents.

Right now one Ambivalence box holds a painting I purchased years ago to remind me of a wonderful holiday with friends. I no longer admire the painting yet I spent a lot to acquire it, and I am concerned I have not got my money’s worth! I have a wall hanging that is beautiful yet it doesn’t hold particular memories for me, and I don’t have enough wall space to hold the art & photos I love. A friend gave me a beautiful scarf, but it doesn’t suit me, and there it sits in my closet year after year. I love reading and ten significant books that represent earlier careers round out my current Ambivalence stash.

Many organizational articles would advise us to “just make a decision and live with it." That principle of organizing doesn’t always fit for me. I need an Ambivalence box. As I am sorting items, I place items in it whose future I just can’t decide. Then I can continue to move forward downsizing other items. The key, however, is to give myself a deadline to make a decision. For me, six months to a year works. I determine a date to revisit the box, note it in my calendar, and on that day, I revisit the box and make a decision about each item.

My six months is up. The painting is going to a charity auction and I feel that my expensive purchase was worthwhile. The wall hanging is going to a local garage sale. The scarf stays. I won’t wear it, but its Fall colours will grace a side table from September through November before it is put away for another year. I kept two of the 10 books. They each represent a former career and I love to remember those times when I glance at my bookshelf. Maybe I can let them go next year!

Not to decide is to decide. For now. What’s in your Ambivalence box and when's your Day of Reckoning?